Thursday, 20 December 2012

Week 59

This week: some of my favorite ingredients- that for some reason not very many other people seem to love - AVOCADO AND PULPO! <3
In my favorite bento box brought from Japan by one of my favorite girlfriends - Ilonka! <3

It is a quite simple dish but the combination of salt - pepper and sweet - sour just makes the salad!

Avocado is sliced and topped with lime juice, fleur de sel salt and freshly ground pepper.
Pulpo is cooked (for quite some time) in red wine with a cork, garlic and onion.
Then cooled, stripped of all the tentacles, cut into pieces, dressed with lime juice - fleur de sel salt - freshly ground mixed pepper - Turkish spices (sumac) -extra virgin olive oil. And something sweet - a pinch of cane sugar. Leave to cool overnight. Yumm!


Week 58

This week ....
 Flowers made out of salad leaves rolled up with sliced cold meat.
For some rolls I added mayonnaise. For some I didn't.
I used grilled beef and grilled pork with mustard.
Easy. Yummy. Bento-y.

(Just no better pics than this one... sorry! )


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Week 57

The Dutch are known for their cheese. 
But: Mussels are a Dutch delicacy! 
Mussels can be eaten when there is an "R" in the name of the month. 
Obviously this rule applies to the Dutch language. 

My good friend Frans is a wonderful (and sometimes experimental or crazy) cook. This time we ate wonderful mussels. In a spicy coconut sauce.

Pulpo (octopus)

One of my favorite "fishy thingies" is octopus.
I cook it for quite some time in red wine (preferably high in tannin), some sour element, garlic, jalapeño pepper, onion and some flavorings to taste. This time I also added a cork (from a bottle of wine). I read somewhere that that would make the octopus even less chewy. And I did feel that it was softer than previous times. Although I don't mind chewy.

I peel the octopus and cut it into bite size pieces. One trier was with cream cheese and black pepper.

The dark trier was with lemon juice and sea salt.

I ended up mixing them both.

Delicious salad!


Week 56

Using fall and winter flavors is a great way to use produce of the season.
It is economical and it suits the body.

The white trier is filled with a red cabbage salad. Topped with flakes of smoked trout and rings of leek.

The red cabbage salad is a recipe from Angelique Schmeinck of the Dutch food channel 24kitchen. The cabbage is sliced thinly. Lukewarm olive oil is poured over it. Flavorings can be garlic, pepper, salt and thyme. But I vary every time. Since cabbage keeps so well I use a small bit every time and experiment.
It has become one of my favorite salads!

The brown trier is filled with semolina and topped with a red port sauce and more rings of leek.

This bento box was brought from Asia by my good friend Ilonka. It is my favorite bento box. The volume, the colors, the triers and the seal are all perfect!

This bento has more the feel of
a warm day in fall. 

Chicory leaves used as boats to travel delicicous seafood into my mouth. The chicory boats are filled with crab salad, crayfish and topped with pomegranate seeds and finely sliced jalapeno pepper.

This combination is surprisingly wonderful!

The tower of Pizza! (This is a bit of joke...)

In cooking class the kids made macaroni, tomato sauce, leek rings, cooked mushrooms and grated cheese.

We made so much food- we couldn't eat it all at school.
Also it was so tasty the kids wanted to take some macaroni home to let their family members taste it too!

Each child was allowed to create their own cups of macaroni! So they could pile the cups any way they wanted. And me too! :-)

Since we don't have a lot of means they brought the macaroni back in plastic cups. By the time I got home, my macaroni was cold.
I put it in the fridge and wanted to reheat it the next day. I tipped it over and - thanks to all the Gouda cheese - I had a little macaroni tower! It is as crooked as the tower of pizza! (XD)

This is a bento for working at home.

Some left over semolina. Salad made with avocado, sliced red onion, garlic and pomegranate seeds. Slices of left over venison.


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Week 55

 Week 55 was all about feeling the season and staying in with family and friends

Liz made bento's with her four kids.

It is very much fun to make bento boxes on your own. But to make them for you kids so they eat healthier - wonderful!

But to get the kids enthusiastic as well and make their own bento boxes! Wow! You go mom!

Rose made her own spicy salad bento.

Using up all the left over veg from last week.

Add some cheese, cuteness and jalapeño ...  and - Bob's your uncle!


Week 54

Week 54 was a busy week. The bento's are a way of presenting food - whether it is for taking out or enjoying inside. 

This is a "Tapas Table Bento" with per-packed cheese, celery sticks cut in pieces with trenches of  French & Spanish dried sausages with assorted nuts, dried dates filled with blue cheese, pate of wild boar made with cognac, olives with cubes of feta cheese and in the last bowl a mix of pickled onions and peppers.

Students made these "bento" hearts in cooking class! Oh, how I do love them too!

This is a bento made for pleasuring the memory of the wonderful times in Taiwan.

It consist of jao-zi (dumplings) made with pork and turkey meat. Spiced with 5spice, garlic, onion, soy sauce sesame oil and seeds, basil, water and seasoning.

On the side is a bento with 3 times soy sauce, 1 time jalapeño pepper, wasabi paste and ginger.

It is decorated with celery sticks and leaves, basil leaves and spring onion.

Very yummy!


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Week 53

The darkness of winter days is creeping up. Ingredients in our bento's change accordingly. 

Leftovers from last week. Rose made a striped bento. Top of the picture a trier filled with a Spanish tortilla of egg, bacon, chicken, basil and cheese with chili sauce stripes on top. And salt and pepper, of course.

Bottom: smoked beef slices rolled up, a celery stick filled with fig jam. A piece of pate made with pheasant, another celery stick with fig jam and a nice piece of goat's cheese with truffle.

Playing ukulele, drinking wine, eating snacks - with friends <3 

Burrito (or taco - I never know the difference) made with chickpea flour and filled with meat salad. Chick pea flour is low in carbs! (aka Good Food).

The meat salad was made by cutting left over sausages into thin stripes and mixing it with cream cheese, mayonnaise and finely cut celery sticks. And salt and pepper, of course.

This combinations is unexpectedly heavenly!
 Mushrooms (the brown kind - I am unfamiliar with the English name, in Dutch it is called a "kastanjechampignon") cooked for about 20 minutes in water, balsamic vinegar, some salt and glühwein (or something sweet). Filled with a pulpo (octopus) salad. The salad was made by cooking octopus for 2 hours in dry sherry, bay leaf, water, garlic, jalapeño pepper and seasoning. Then cut into pretty pieces and mixed with cream cheese, mayonnaise and topped with spring onion rings.  

"Left over dinner" bento... again.
Duck breasts and celeriac wedges mixed with horseradish sauce were finished and very very tasty. Just the red cabbage was leftover. 

On top: assorted nuts and Bleu d'Auverge cheese cut in cubes.
On the bottom: red cabbage cooked in Glühwein with a bay leaf, juniper berries, mixed peppercorns, salt and finely sliced pear.

Very yummy "taste of winter" combination!


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Week 52

Eating sushi and sashimi with Sanne @ Wasabi.

Rose made for Liz a bento with:
- cream cheese and a celery-stick boat filled with Russian caviar.
- Speck (from the Dutch Sealand) and a pickled onion.
- Fig jam and two pieces of celerystick.
- Wild boar pate (to go with the jam).
- Roast beef "flowers" (to go with the cocoa balsamic vinegar in the last box).
- Truffle cheese.

Liz made for Rose a bento filled with game stew, red cabbage and mushroom risotto with truffle.

Liz was cooking for husband her four kids AND all the visitors because they celebrated early Halloween AND it was her husbands birthday.

So Rose ALSO got a large but not so chic "bento". The same ingredients just in a different package.

We are trying to find our own way of making lunches that are perhaps not the typical bento but lunches that are:
- easy-to-carry, fun to eat.
- healthy, tasty, nutritious and excellent for losing weight.
- can feed a family (next to having a busy job).

So is this also bento?

To us it is. It is a meal that can easily be taken on a trip.
Is it cooking cute? In a black box more so than in a plastic bag but still the answer is: no.

And this is a very bento pile of rocks. Don't you think? 


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Week 52

This bento was made using three separate boxes. One two trier box with assorted salad leaves and chicken on the top trier. The box with the lime-green top contained mayonnaise-yoghurt dressing with freshly ground pepper. The other box contained assorted nuts with popcorn seasoning and two small pieces of cheese.

Here are two ways of presenting the same vegetarian food.

Top picutre: Vegetarian meatball and a steamed piece of green cauliflower. Potatoes with popcorn seasoning (butter and cheddar) and with Japanese rice seasoning. Carrots with popcorn and Japanese seasoning. Cabbage leaf rolls filled with prune and cheese.
The bottom picture contains the same foods and some extras. Extra being the egg and the little soy sauce - sesame oil dressing in the cute dispenser with the pig's head. (Brought from Japan by our good friend Ilonka).

Friday, 12 October 2012

Week 51

Week 51

Rose made a bento with a salad made with cubes of beetroot, young feta cheese and chives.
Lollo Rosso salad filled with tzatziki (Greek yoghurt with garlic). And some chicken from the grill (but off the bone).

Rose made a little salad with chicken and Lollo Rosso with flowers of Corsendonck cheese on top.

 The salad was served with a cute box stuffed with assorted nuts topped with spicy popcorn seasoning.

And Greek style yoghurt, mayonnaise topped with freshly ground black pepper.


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Week 50

Klaartje made a wonderful bento-like snack!

Pita bread with orange, pepper, rocket and mint. How lovely!


Rose and Liz started making bento's because:
1) eating healthy and versitile lunches
2) love for food
3) but also loosing weight
4) love for cooking
5) and each other
6) knowing the importance of presentation
7) making and receiving a gift once a week is giving and receiving love

Is this a bento?                                                               Is this "more" a bento?

The next day, to make up for the "conceptual bento" Rose made for Liz "a real bento".

Top left: Calamaris in it's own ink (out of a can brought, from Spain) served in a cucumber bowl.
Top second to left: dutch take on a chutney. Peaches from a can mixed with home cured cauliflower. Middle left: Kalamata olives served in a cucumber bowl.
Bottom  left: same as top left.
The boat made of Corsendonck (Belgian premium beer) cheese filled with thousand island dressing.
To the right: skewers with Kalamata olives and crayfish served on lollo rosso salad leaves.


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Week 49

Contribution from Jasna!

Heart shaped eggs! What a wonderful idea!

Liz made a special bento with zucchini muffins, surimi sticks, fois gras, and on the next row lovely goat's cheese, meat balls on top of julienne cut carrots and zuccini salad. All the sauces were added at the last moment and need to be specified later.

Rose made for Liz
Egg sunset, pointy coli flour trees, a skyline made of aspergus bean and the land made of steamed ground beef topped with spicy crushed nuts. Served on a bed of steamed carrot strips. In the round container in the left bottom: peanut or satay sauce.

Liz made pomodoro tomato hearts served on a bed of mozzarella. How cute!